Over the past year or so we've seen a new product category emerge: the portable digital converter/headphone amplifier. Of course, no one "needs" such a device -- phones and iPods already have converters and amps built-in -- and sound perfectly fine with average headphones. The sound is good enough, but your phone's converter and amp share space and battery power with the phone's electronics. A separate converter and amp, about the size of a phone, has only one mission: improved sound quality. So if you upgraded to a high-end in-ear headphone, like the $399 … Read more
I've reviewed a number of portable headphone amps over the years, but they just took the analog output of a phone or MP3 player and made it sound better. Ideally, you want to totally bypass the player's digital converters, but up until recently that was a very expensive proposition. The V-Moda Vamp Verza cuts the price to less than half, and works with iPhones, iPads, and iPods, as well as Androids and computers. I'm really impressed with the little Vamp Verza's sound.
The look and concept were designed by V-Moda's Val Kolton in Milan, Italy, … Read more
Is the music from your iPhone sounding a little lifeless? The Vamp could bring your audio back from the dead with a built-in headphone amplifier and digital-to-analog converter (DAC) that bypasses the iPhone's audio circuitry.
Designed for Apple's iPhone 4 and 4S, the Vamp is also a very solid-looking case that's made from "aircraft-grade metal." Inside, there's a high-quality DAC and two 150mW amps (at 32 omhs) to drive headphones of various sizes. A rechargeable 2,200mAh battery powers the setup for up to 8 hours, which isn't very impressive for a high-end headphone amp.
It also serves as a backup battery for your iPhone, which will undoubtedly leave you with even fewer hours of music. … Read more